Alright, before I even start I am just going to say that this would be extremely rare for the Patriots. Bill Belichik and company do not exactly value running backs, and that is saying it lightly. After Corey Dillon, there has been a revolving door at the running back position for the New England Patriots. Players such as Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Steven Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Legarrette Blount, while serviceable, do not have the ability to become a franchise running back.
However, no one cane deny that Tom Brady is becoming older. As he ages, the Patriots brass (Bill Belichik) may consider lightening the load on the 37-year-old quarterback. To do this, they may look at drafting a cost effect, low risk, high reward running back through the draft.
Now, please enter Todd Gurley.
Gurley is a big human being. Standing at 6'1 and weighing over 220 pounds, he has a unique blend of strength and speed that makes him extremely difficult to tackle. His downhill style of running means that he rarely will go out of bounds. Rather, like a typical Patriot, he will stay in bounds and fight for those extra couple of yards. If the Patriots aren't able to re-sign Shane Vereen, Gurley could fill in nicely. He is able to catch the ball out of the backfield and accelerate upfield. Finally, and most importantly, Gurley rarely fumbles. In 510 carries, Gurley fumbled only 3 times.
Now, you may wonder, "if Gurley is so good, how could the Patriots draft him #32 overall?" Well, he has a small injury problem, and when I say small, I mean huge. At Georgia, Gurley played in only 40% of their offensive snaps. Because of this, NFL scouts wonder if his speed and acceleration will still be there once he returns to playing football. Along with his injury history, Gurley is not a particularly good blocker and needs to improve his patience when waiting for a hole to open up.
However, Gurley has drawn comparisons to Marshawn Lynch by NFL scouts. If a players draws comparisons to Lynch, he needs to be looked at very seriously. There is no question that Gurley could be a Top 5 running back in the NFL. if he can get healthy.
If Gurley is still there at #32 overall, the Patriots have to take him. They may not be excited to use a first round pick on a running back, but if a potential All-Pro is still on the board, you have to take him. The Patriots may go in a completely different direction for all I know. However, if a big name like Gurley is still on the board when the Pats are on the clock and they want to bolster the offense, they have to at least consider him.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS